Rigidly foldable origami tubes can be kinematically regarded as assemblies of spherical linkages. They have exhibited excellent properties for deployable structures. Yet, for the engineering applications, the corresponding thick-panel forms have to be designed. In this paper, the spherical 4R linkages in tubes with hexagonal cross-sections are partially replaced by spatial linkages, leading to a method to construct the thick-panel tubes, which can reproduce kinematic motions equivalent to those realized using zero-thickness origami. Based on the D–H matrix method, the rotational symmetric and symmetric tubes are introduced, together with their four types of vertexes, where the specific spherical 4R linkages are replaced by Bennett and Bricard linkages to obtain the thick-panel foldable tubes. The approach can be applied to multilayered tubes with a straight or curved profile, whose manufacture can be simplified by removing extra links. The results can be readily utilized to the design of deployable tubular structures whose thickness cannot be disregarded.
Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics Open Issues